Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More Pieces From the Past

And since I showed you the before pictures of those Nine patches, I thought I'd share another set of before and after photos.

I found this top at an antique and collectibles show in Santa Rosa in 1992. It had those wonderful cadet blues, double pinks and old tyme shirting prints that I like. The piecework was poor and it didn't lay flat to save it's life, but I saw the potential in it and offered the vendor $15.00.
I took the entire top apart and decided to make four inch Double X blocks using the blues and shirting prints. Even with mixing and matching the prints, it was a stretch to make the four inch blocks. I made a half a dozen blocks and was stopped. No more blues worth working with. I scoured flea markets and collectible shops. This was before the internet and finding additional fabric was a challenge. About nine months after I started I was able to barter for about a dozen six inch squares of double blue and cadet blue from a quilt guild member who'd bought a stack of squares from an antique dealer in Illinois. She admired the concept of my quilt and told me she'd share her fabric squares in exchange for my piecing a few blocks for her.

Because I was working from six inch squares and two by four inch bricks of fabric I sometimes had to piece the pieces. Progress was slow and I bogged down. After it sat untouched for six months or so I asked my Round Robin group if they'd be willing to piece blocks for me. I pre-cut the blocks and sent out six kits. Each member, located in six different states throughout the US, pieced a Double X block and a signature block that I pieced into the back.
Once the blocks were done I decided I' set it together with unbleached muslin. I was visiting my quilty friend Karen and showed her the completed blocks. She lite up and said, "Hold on. Let me show you something." She pulled out a cardboard box of vintage remnants and cut-aways that she'd been sitting on and we rummaged through that together. It was full of prints that were mostly from the 1930's, but as we got down to the bottom there was the perfect shirting print; and there was a large (relatively) chunk of it. It was just what was needed for the set squares. The only fabrics that are reproduction are the inner and outer borders.

I hand quilted it in an uneven plaid and embroidered my signature and the date on the back, thinking again of Wynn Reddall's admonishment to label all my quilts so that some historian someday in the future wouldn't be confused by the look and date of my 'vintage' quilts.

It hangs on the kitchen wall a few months out of each year. It reminds me of how collective quilt making can be. When people ask me, "Where did you get those fabrics?!" I smile and say, "I had to beg, borrow and buy them." :D

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